LIT-100 Final Project

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LIT-100 Final Project

Interpreting "The Cask of Amontillado"


Published in 1846, “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe plays with themes of pettiness and revenge, themes present in the modern online culture of public shaming. Through the linear plot and masterful indirect characterization of narrator and protagonist Montresor, Poe reveals his purpose. The opening of the story lays Montresor’s mind bare. “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge” (Poe 1019). Montresor elaborates, in confessional fashion, that these were not crimes for which Fortunato should be brought before a magistrate. He continues, “I must not only punish, but punish with impunity” (Poe 1019). Punish, Montresor does, as he leads a drunken Fortunato into his estate wine cellar, chains him, and encloses him behind a brick wall to die. I read a lot of news, along with accompanying reader commentary, and it is concerning; I worry because much of it accurately exemplifies the story’s theme. Poe reveals his theme of disproportional revenge, an accepted concept in modern society, in “The Cask of Amontillado” through the use of a linear plot structure, a dark and foreboding tone, and a confined setting.

Grade: A

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